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Did COVID-19 Really Increase the U.S. Divorce Rate in 2020?


During the first half of 2020, statistics seemed to indicate that COVID-19 could drive up the U.S. divorce rate, which has been on a decline for decades, for the first time in years.

Now that we're in 2021, it's time to take a look back at the divorce rate in 2020 and understand what really happened to marriages across the U.S. as COVID-19 swept the country.

For help with your divorce or family law case, contact our office online or via phone at (626) 340-0955.

Why Did People Think the Divorce Rate Would Increase?

Suspicions that COVID-19 could increase the U.S. divorce rate were well-founded.

In China, the divorce rate appeared to spike significantly as government offices reopened from COVID-19-imposed lockdowns, with people lining up to file for divorce out the door.

That trend appeared to repeat itself in the U.S. Divorce contract website LegalTemplates indicated that sales of divorce jumped by 34% in April of 2020 compared to the same month in the previous year.

As a result of such statistics, various lawyers and websites predicted an increase in the U.S. divorce rate, largely derived from a mixture of economic instability and emotional stress as the pandemic swept the U.S.

So, Did the Divorce Rate Really Increase?

However, contrary to expectations, it appears that the divorce rate actually continued to decline over 2020.

Researchers W. Bradford Wilcox and Lyman Stone from the Institute for Family Studies recently found that 58% of married individuals aged 18 to 55 said the pandemic made them appreciate their spouses more.

That data is reflected from divorce rates in at least five states - divorce filings fell by 19% in Florida, 13% in Rhode Island, 12% in Oregon, and 9% in Missouri.

Now, researchers speculate that increased time at home may have given couples opportunities to bond throughout the pandemic. Additionally, some couples that may want to file for divorce could be holding off thanks to increased economic instability making divorce less viable for individuals across the U.S.

At Gille Kaye Law Group, P.C., we help individuals resolve complex family law disputes. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (626) 340-0955.

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